Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our American Cousin


My neighborhood in San Francisco's Bernal Heights is home to a pair of automotive cousins not known for their reliability, performance, or styling — the Chevy Chevette and the Yugo CV. It's good that they have each other. No news if any drag racing between these two odes to automotive incompetence has been scheduled. I'll keep you posted.


7 comments:

  1. Isn't Yugo the make of the car that blew off the Macinaw bridge a few years back? Anyone have more details on that accident?

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  2. In 1989 a woman from Royal Oak was driving across the bridge and her Yugo went over the railing and she (and her Yugo) fell to her death. The accident was originally thought to be caused by her speeding, though it was later determined that due to high winds that day the driver panicked and stopped her car. Unfortunately, she stopped it over an open grate in the roadway and the high winds blew up through that grate right under her car. http://micah.typepad.com/dogears_wrinkles/2007/05/mackinac_bridge.html

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  3. Yes, it happened in 1989. Leslie Ann Pluhar of Royal Oak went off the bridge accidentally during a wind storm in a 1987 Yugo. Deservedly, whatever was left of Yugo's reputation was lost at that point. It was a freak accident, and I believe some retrofits were done to the bridge, and conditions defined where no cars are allowed on the Bridge.

    http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm486470.html




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  4. I owned a 1977 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter(no frills); it was a nice little car!

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  5. The US-imported Yugo was just a licensed copy of a long-standing FIAT design, the 127, with some 128 technology. During most of its market life, many of its owners regarded it as reliable and effective...but as it had an interference engine, it required regular oil changes and timing belt maintenance. US owners of low-cost cars are notorious among the world automotive industry for their relatively poor maintenance habits. The Yugo, as with most other inexpensive cars of its era, was mismatched with owners that regarded it as an unmaintained transportation appliance, to be used as-is until it broke.

    Of course, in the end it was a fact that a car design that worked effectively in the tight quarters of Italy and the Balkans was simply inadequate to the US's greater driving distances and speeds.

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  6. It is unfair and inaccurate to compare the Chevette's quality and performance to that of the Yugo. Styling.........perhaps. The chevy was what it was- cheap transportation- but did come with GM's power train, which was vastly superior to that of the Yugo. There was ,however another "cousin" that WAS closer to the Yugo....the Dodge Omni-a true bucket of bolts.

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  7. My American cousin, not a Flint native, asked for a Chevette that our family bought with the discount an kept for the amount of time required before it could be sold according to GM. She was a non establishment type who, after leaving college for awhile, wandered through Europe, and even lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a while. The real deal. The Chevette got better gas mileage. That's why she wanted it when she got back from seeing the Supercontinent, returned to College, and eventually received a Ph.D. and retired from UM-Flint. We liked the car when we drove it. Our family bought another one or two. The downside is that it really didn't have the power for air conditioning, didn't have the power for very hilly terrain, and wasn't good in winter driving conditions. How does it do in the hills and valleys of San Francisco?

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